Lindsey Johnson is a freelance food stylist and photographer, writer and recipe developer. And if that wasn't enough, she's also the mother to three rambunctious kids. Her food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, is the place where she documents the delicious things coming out of her kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Cranberry Fluff Salad for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without my mother-in-law’s Cranberry Fluff Salad.

My first Thanksgiving as a married woman (10 years ago!) was spent with my husband’s aunt and uncle and their children.  My husband’s aunt brought Cranberry Fluff to the table and I was a little skeptical.  But only until I tasted it.  I couldn’t believe how much I loved it and immediately asked for the recipe.  She told me the origin of the recipe–my mother-in-law.  She also told me that my husband’s extended family always had Cranberry Fluff with Thanksgiving and even Christmas.  It was an institution and I was happy to adopt it into my life too.


Never in a million years would I have expected raw cranberries, apples, nuts, marshmallows and whipped cream to taste so good.  Crazy good.  My little girls love this salad, too, because it’s bright pink and fluffy.  Just like princesses would eat.

I’ve added my own little twists on the original recipe.  I add pecans instead of walnuts, and I add orange zest and little vanilla extract for a bit of extra oomph.  The best part?  Well, that’s easy–the leftovers make a fantastic breakfast the next day.  That is, if there are any leftovers.

Cranberry Fluff Salad
adapted from The Lion House Cookbook

2 cups raw cranberries
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used evaporated cane juice)
3 cups mini marshmallows
2-3 small Granny Smith apples, diced
1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the cranberries and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add the sugar. Let stand for a few minutes and add the marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight. Stir in the apples and nuts. Fold in the whipped cream and vanilla extract. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes enough for 6-8 servings.


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Comments (5)

  1. Amy Hackworth 12/11/2012 at 10:34 pm

    Lindsey, what is that fancy orange zester thingy and where can I get one? I usually rely on church dinners or the big family Thanksgiving dinner for my “fluff” salads, but I’m going to take your word for this and make it for our little family. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving! | Cafe Johnsonia |Cafe Johnsonia |

  3. Lynette W. 11/06/2014 at 5:34 pm

    I think you left out a step…so you whip the heavy whipping cream into whipped cream and then fold it in after? Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Lynette W. 11/06/2014 at 5:35 pm

      Whoops. Never mind. Noticed the “whipped” part in the ingredients list 😉

  4. Jane Giesbrecht 11/07/2014 at 9:21 am

    Not only do you write well and know how to cook, you are an exceptional artist as well. Look forward to trying the recipe sent to me by my daughter, Heidi.